To ease you into the weekend, some top pop from Nigeria courtesy of Afrobeat dude Flavour.
Flavour hails from Enugu in south-eastern Nigeria, which appears to be a hot bed of musical talent. Other musicians from the city include the much-vaunted William Onyeabor and the insufficiently vaunted Sonny Okosun. Sonny's "Papa's Land" is a great record. We've featured it before but that is no reason not to do so again, so here it is - twelve minutes of wonder.
A couple of tracks from Waylon and Jessi's boy, Shooter - the first from "Electric Rodeo" (2006), the second from the excellent "The Other Life" (2013). The apple didn't fall far from the tree with this one.
A couple of crackers for you today from The Cookies, one of the huge number of talented girl groups active in the early 1960s who deserved to be much bigger than they were.
First formed in Brooklyn in 1954 by two cousins and their friend, the original line-up split when two of the three went off and formed The Raelettes. The remaining member, Dorothy Jones, went home and enlisted another cousin and the friend's younger sister for the second, more successful, line-up.
They got their break backing Little Eva on her hits, which brought them to the attention of Gerry Goffin and Carole King who started writing for them - including "Chains" and "I'm Into Something Good", subsequently covered by the Beatles and Herman's Hermits.
Their biggest hit was "Don't Say Nothing Bad (About My Baby)", which got to number 7 in the States in 1963. Here it is with the follow up single, which inexplicably didn't chart at all.
Some super smooth 70s soul sounds for you today, courtesy of Bobby Boyd. Both tracks come from his self-titled album, originally released in 1976 but reissued a few years ago by the Athens of the North label.
As the Scots and other sophisticates among you will have worked out, the Athens of the North label hails from Edinburgh. They are by no means the first folks from that fair city to have a bit of a thing about 'B' based alliteration.
Welcome to the sixth and final instalment of our series bringing the highlights of the classic compilation of Japanese female frolics, "Girls Sazanami Beat! Volume 1". As we are clearing the shelves, we have a special 'three for the price of two' offer for you.
'Breakaway' is a cover of the old Irma Thomas song that was a hit for Tracey Ullman, and together with this fantastic video it has led me to have a Milkees meltdown. I think I may be in love.
I know I always claim that whatever song it is I'm posting is splendid, so you might initially be inclined to dismiss it when I say the same thing again today. But please don't. Today's choices are so good they exceed even my normal standards of hyperbole.
The good folks at Fortuna Records in Tel Aviv dedicate themselves to unearthing obscure gems from around the Middle East. They really came up trumps with the debut (and possibly only) album by Grazia, originally released in the mid to late 1970s.
The full story of the record is on their Bandcamp page, where you will no doubt shortly be heading to buy the album. It was a product of the vibrant music scene in Jaffa, which was evidently quite a multicultural place at the time (and may still be for all I know).
The album was released by a record company that specialised in the music of the local Greek and Turkish communities - this is one of the Turkish albums. Grazia, who was only 16 at the time, was teamed up with a producer who had just bought a Moog and was clearly infatuated with it. Thank goodness he had not yet learnt self-restraint!
We have some 1980s Polish indie-pop for you today, courtesy of Malarze i Żołnierze (which translates as Painters & Soldiers, a name very much of its time). Some of their influences are fairly easy to spot, but that does not diminish their music by any means. "Żółte Koszule" is a little jangly gem.
Because they've put me in a good mood, I've added a bonus track for you - some Polish ska from the 1960s. No, really.
Two more tracks from "Girl Sazanami Beat! Volume 1" for you, both with an Italian connection of sorts.
Italyaguitar are particularly splendid. "Bella Ciao" is pure surf-rock. Why it has that title is anyone's guess - Is the surf sound big in Bologna and massive in Milan? Are the Tiki Tiki Bamboooos labouring under the misapprehension that Italian is the language of Hawaii? I suspect we will never know.
After last week's selection of songs and artists with signs of the Zodiac in their names, young George kindly sent me an album called "Astrology Songs" by one Harvey Sid Fisher. I promised him that I would feature a couple of tracks, so here goes.
The same post prompted Charity Chic to request something by Leo Sayer. I am delighted to bring you this old favourite. Many years ago a friend and I spent far too long trying to work out where this encounter took place, using the clues in the lyrics - for example, it is somewhere that is 310 miles from Gretna via the M6 and was sufficiently vibrant to have had a Mexican discotheque in the 1970s. After much painstaking research, we concluded it probably happened in Reading.
I'm lucky enough to get sent loads of freebies to listen to by people labouring under the misapprehension that I am what these days is called an influencer. I'm not sure its true, but I won't tell them if you don't.
Here is a small selection of the small percentage of the recent freebies that I have actually had a chance to listen to. Three of them are broadly in the country/ Americana camp, the other one wings its way to you all the way from Malawi. The Faith Mussa and Whitney albums are out already, Jack M. Senff is out on Friday (6 September), and Dori Freeman at the end of the month. All are worth buying, with Dori the pick of the bunch for me.
The best free album I have received recently is Tyler Childers' "Country Squire". It is an absolute must have for fans of outlaw country. But it was sent by RCA Records with so many warnings about how they would obliterate me if I shared it that I'm not going to risk it. Enjoy the video instead.